Mother and daughter smile at each other

Starting the New Year With a Grateful Heart

I love fresh starts – the first day of a new month, the beginning of a new season or a brand new year. I used to get really stressed out at the end of December if I hadn’t met my goals for that year. More recently, I’ve given myself a little grace period and started using January as my “planning” month. This allows me to catch up from all the holiday chaos and take the whole month of January to reset and let go of last year’s stresses. I slow down and think about what truly matters to me and what I really want to accomplish.

The past year was challenging for my family with many changes and transitions. Our little family of three became a family of four! We moved. We changed careers. We lost a grandparent. Our lives were flipped upside down during the second half of the year with so much happening at once.

Throughout this time, a simple phrase helped my husband and I stay calm and focused: “Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are right now.” We repeat this phrase to ourselves when life, work and parenting become overwhelming. We do the best we can, with whatever we have, wherever we are at that point in time.

Aside from this little mantra of ours, there are a few tips that have helped us contain the crazy in our life.

Keep a Gratitude Journal. I just started one last year and I really recommend it! I love to take a little quiet time to think about the good things and the in-between moments. Writing down what I’m thankful for puts my heart and head in a good place and gives me the calm and steady I need to tackle whatever is next on my plate. I try to write on Sundays, but if I skip a few weeks, I just pick up where I left off.

Make an Inspiration Board. Fill it up with your favorite quotes, images and bits and pieces of inspiration you pick up throughout the year. You can make a virtual board if you’re short on space, but I love having mine out in front of me each day. Our mantra is on it, along with a favorite photo of my boys.

Create a Family Command Center. We feel more in control when all of our dates/times, numbers, keys, mail and notes are together in one place. After downsizing to a space half the size of our previous home, we had to get creative. We now have a chalkboard in our entryway for quick notes, a key hook, a slotted mail organizer, a new calendar with photos of our favorite place (North Carolina), sticky notes and pens. If we had more space, I’d add a docking station to charge our devices, as well as some baskets to hold the shoes we wear most often. Add things to your space that make the most sense to you.

Regardless of how you find joy this year, take advantage of the fresh start the new year brings – jump in with a plan and a grateful heart – you got this!

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